★ ALL-STAR SUNDAY ★

One often encounters folks who say that today’s stars don’t compare to those of the past. I do beg to differ. The teams displayed above field far superior specimens to those of the past and are more suited to the job than ever before. This is actually beside the point, however. The point is, rather, that each new generation of players cannot exist without the foundation that was laid by the generation before, as well as the many before they were even born.

That’s what All-Star weekend is about. Paying tribute. For when you pay tribute to the present all-stars, you cheer the ones that came before. So let’s take a look at our current starters.

Normally I would say that stat nerds rely too much on data — that you have to watch the action to know the real story. And this is true. But for the purposes of illuminating the greatness of this season’s contest, I thought I’d go through some statistic-like snapshots.

But first let’s get the obvious out of the way: Yes, Chicago’s Bo Rama is notable only for his absence this year. He’s ineligible. Nevertheless the roster is filled with who the Blue Dogs want. You’re not required to like the way they choose the teams. If you don’t like it, join the team and change the rules. And good luck with that.

Now let’s begin with the player everyone is talking about: The Red Rovers’ Donald Trump. He’s been criticized for brash and unsportsmanlike conduct. I doubt even his biggest fans would disagree with the first attribute, and he certainly doesn’t hold his tongue. But some say he measures up with one of the opposing team’s most historically touted talents:

Franklin D. Roosevelt, who carried on a longitudinal with Chicago Tribune publisher Robert R. McCormick, once admonished a reporter by giving him a dunce hat and instructing him to sit in the corner.

But how is he on the court?

Well, speaking of measuring up well against the competition, he not only picked up where his predecessor left off, but he did him one better by following through with the future Hall of Famer’s game plan:

[Bo Rama] Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. Trump Just Killed His 8-Year-Old Sister.

American or not, criminal father or not, if we can kill just one child, it will have been worth it. Future Hall of Fame I tell ya!

But let’s not be hasty and give all the glory to the team captain. As anyone who watches the game can tell you, the assist is as important as the score. The pass in this case was a full-court doozy. Five years ago it left the hands of the Dogs’ Eric Holder, who also knows a thing or two about alternate fact-finding his own damn self:

Speaking to students and faculty at Northwestern University law school, Attorney General Eric Holder laid out in greater detail than ever before the legal theory behind the administration’s belief that it can kill American citizens suspected of terrorism without charge or trial. In the 5,000-word speech, the nation’s top law enforcement official directly confronted critics who allege that the targeted killing of American citizens violates the Constitution.

“‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security.” Holder said. “The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”

Remember that pass whenever the Rovers’ Jeffrey Sessions has the ball in his hands. I think he’ll do just fine with the example set for him.

As to Trump’s self-described acumen on defense, he’s got big shorts to fill and a lot of numbers to catch up on:

Since coming to office in 2009, Obama’s government has deported more than 2.5 million people—up 23% from the George W. Bush years. More shockingly, Obama is now on pace to deport more people than the sum of all 19 presidents who governed the United States from 1892-2000, according to government data.

Like I said before, though, beware of numbers. Analysts have a way of deflating or inflating them depending on which attributes they’d like to highlight about a particular player:

Thus, comparing the deportation statistics across different presidential administrations is dicey because it is unclear what categories of people are actually being counted and categorized. Moreover, different administrations choose to emphasize different statistics. Dara Lind notes that the Bush administration seems to have reported removals and returns together, but Obama’s administration has emphasized only its number of removals.

Note how Blue Dogs fans criticize by pointing to a video compilation of their opponent’s dirtiest plays, but cite positive stats as regards how well their team is doing. Yet Rover enthusiasts will look at that same video and note, say, how remarkable Trump’s blocked shot was while ignoring his questionable follow through. This is why I say that you really do have to pay close attention to the game to know who’s really doing what. Don’t rely on a fan’s interpretation of events.

Another Rover who’s been roundly criticized, mocked even, is Betsy DeVos. Now, trash talk is part of the game, but some are calling DeVos too stupid to be in the game, let alone this one. That’s pretty harsh. Certainly nobody called her counterpart, the Rama’s Chicago cohort, Arne Duncan dumb. Yet this Blue Dog star is not averse to teachable moments, saying things that might lead one to question his scruples:

“I spent a lot of time in New Orleans, and this is a tough thing to say, but let me be really honest. I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina. That education system was a disaster, and it took Hurricane Katrina to wake up the community to say that ‘we have to do better.'”

We’ll get to his in-game performance in a moment, just long enough to mention that it’s not exactly a secret what style of play Betsy DeVos prefers, unintelligibly argued for or not. Her record will, as they say, speak for itself.

Duncan, on the other hand, has built a legacy for himself:

Duncan rattled the education policy world with news of a controversial grant of $249 million ($157 the first year) to the charter school industry. This announcement was controversial because, as The Washington Post reports, an audit by his department’s own inspector general found “that the agency has done a poor job of overseeing federal dollars sent to charter schools.”

Duncan’s style of play was something his team traditionally had not been known for. Whether or not it fits one or another game plan, or the skills or personalities on one or another team, can be argued, what is not open to dispute is the achievement of his play.

On this weekend during which we celebrate this great tradition, it is important to remind ourselves that legacies are built to be built upon by successors across the entire spectrum of this great game. Betsy DeVos plays for a team even more amenable to Duncan’s approach, so sky’s the limit when she hits the floor.

If Betsy DeVos is as true to her game as Arne Duncan was his, she could do more than build upon his legacy, she might just finish the job. It took Duncan to get the ball rolling and, of course, his Chicago team’s innovation pays tribute to the patented Clinton trianglating offense developed in the nineties.

The next comparison is difficult because it is between a pair whose position is not known for being flashy. One might even call it wimpy. For this reason, however ironically, it is arguably the most important spot on the floor. These guys can do an awful lot of damage to their own teams, so it’s really a matter of having the best colleagues to cover for them. Imagine, that in addition to the locker room key, your uniform manager is given the combination to the owner’s safe. Keep an eye on Steven Mnuchin. And your underpants.

Who’s got next? Rex Wayne Tillerson and John Forbes Kerry and Hillary Rodham Clinton, that’s who. To be honest, in a manner like the previously alluded to number fudging, Kerry was picked over Clinton for the direct pictorial parallel because of the dueling fists in the photograph. But one cannot ignore what Clinton brings to the game, so she’s certainly deserving of All-Star status.  As regards court correspondents, the question as to whose team either Clinton or Tillerson is playing for will no doubt be one for the ages.

But don’t let league discord or a blown foul call here or there stop you from enjoying this event with a pride of purpose. If the purpose doesn’t make sense, it might be because you don’t understand the game well enough. In some cases, the tacticians don’t want you to understand. You might say there exist unwritten rules that are secret. Nevertheless, marvel at the wondrous flights of fancy and history continually in the making.

 

Colonial Bread Letter 77

Lee Evin is not the age of someone who can escape the sound of 1977. Not that he’s heard Ornette Coleman’s take on “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”. Evin owns all of half his age in albums, though not even that really because none of them are outright his. Surely by now he’s stopped listening to the Elvis soundtrack, whose appearance in the house might be strictly down to a glut of beat up records at the drug store. Probably not.There’s no accounting for taste, either good or bad, and Lee Evin’s’s determined by availability. There is radio. Where to turn the dial, dictated by curiosity or a lack thereof? Having only barely graduated from AM, frequency modulated album orientation is the gatekeeper of what flows through the air.

In this neck of the burbs, 1977 means an awful lot of debuts, precious few of which Evin’ll be aware until the year is firmly in its dust jacket. As of yet it’s history in the making. Cheap Trick is as infectious as it is unavoidable, as are Talking Heads or Television for any DJ with the wherewithal to be an oddball relative to this particular pocket of the Midwest.

Forget The Clash or Sex Pistols for now, unless it’s by way of TV news anchors musing weird on what’s going on in someone else’s world. Never mind Buzzcocks. Not even Bowie’s Low gets much play on the big two or three stations here. When Before and After Science comes out in December to the indifference of AOR, Rumours is still getting cranked up after a year of airplay, and will continue for years to come. And Peter Gabriel debuts solo and gets played, what with his Genesis.

1977 is both classic and odd, but Lee Evin is not the age of himself when he’ll come to appreciate that fact.

Historically speaking in puns

The Brothers Johnson are Right on Time with a reprise of recent Black history with their cover of Shuggie Otis. Even classic rock radio recognizes the transcendence of “Strawberry Letter 23”. But Bootsy barely gets play even though his latest is number one, because Lee Evin goes to school in the wrong direction to pick up on the vibe, spending his time on the wrong side of the dial. Just on the other side of what passes for main street, Bernie Worrell’s earth vibrating bass tone shimmers like a “Flashlight” and, though you wouldn’t know it, Herbie Hancock is all over the place.

Then of course there’s disco, say, Chic, to name a trend that will be around. Is the best that peach-fuzzed white boys can do to buck that trend, in all their disco destroyer-ness, The Grand Illusion? Short answer: Yes, yes it is. Longer answer: Approximately.

Speaking of Black History and A Farewell to Kings, this is the year that the King dies on his throne. #thankyouverymuch

 

record review: Encoded Couplets for Ma (on 78)

Divine thine essence!

If not for the constancy of dwelling on one’s shit,
One could reach the root beyond the smelling of it.

Bred heredity, nurtured traits:
Makeup made of mixing mates.

Feel the veer & Venn of your Xs & Ys.
Commonplace’d again, both in truths & lies.

Ascribe wit to the one and depth to the other.
Find the inversion is as true in view of the mother.

Declaim gratefully, this fatefully wondering why
As well, flippantly wanting whilst waiting to die.

“What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?”
No! What do you think the crime in meekness is?

It’s professed He shall return all pompous for to judge us.
That’s what I’d deem: Classist proverbial mis-algebrus!

Via Hellenists or Romans, however it’s read,
Didst decree He a gala for them living & dead.

O! I wish I were awake. I’d say,
‘You, something something, Blessed Birthday!’

__

Long ago I read a review wherein guitarist Andy Summers said his certain solo was a tribute. From a song called “Mother” off an album dubbed Sychronicity, it was slower than the one referenced, done by Fripp for Eno’s “Golden Hours” on Another Green World.

(When I think that the one was only eight years after the other, the thirty-four years since waxes.. . true to the span of a lifetime!)

The Passage of Time

Two things have occurred to me subsequently (subsequent to one another (many years later and in between)), only consequential occasional to this diary entry.

In reverse order: 2) Already at twenty-seven, Eno was culling the depths of an imagination that told of a time that, for the young, would be too far away to see, let alone contemplate in the 1st person: His mind’s whiling waning while fuzzily fading to black.

Of course, he might easily have observed this occurrence in a mentor or relative, read about it regarding someone else, or seen a depiction on film, television or the stage. The text and mood of the piece, however, hug how I imagine such state of mind subsists – such that I feel as much to be living it as I should seeing it yet to come, although that wasn’t the case not so long ago. Least of all did the depth of the ditty’s darkness reach me when I was twenty-seven, when I had heard the song umpteen times, and in as many contexts.

The mood was always there, I just don’t remember when I started to feel this way. I suppose it’s growing, this waning. The whiling was always part of the program. Of course the whole damn dream is hard-wired.

Im Takt

1) The rest of the structure of Summer’s song resembles more the original than I had previously bothered to consider. Somewhere along the line I took both songs and mashed them up into the audio that accompanies the imagery below. I am not sure when I did the matching & splicing of the music, but if digital information is to be relied upon, about ten years ago.

Still, it was only rather recently that the irony of the lyrics in correspondence presented itself to me.

Now. There is truth in comedy, and drama in truth, but that doesn’t mean that what you are about to see & hear isn’t of zero significance. Or, contrarily, contains all the substance there’s to be. Or both. Or neither. Or always whiling in between when not hanging with the one &/or the other.

What I mean to express is: No pun intended. The puns intend themselves upon us forever & ever. Beyond that is anyone’s guess.

Happy Birthday, Mama. I love you.

Turn up the volume & wait ’til the end; it fades for a while.

Pressing Matters


I can’t contradict the deduction drawn here but believe one might mention more explicitly that “people” and “they” are prima facie the press, television news, and on-line media, who shape perceptions people have about what they themselves think their fellow citizens are angry about.

Much has been made of late via various moneyed media of the effect fake news networking has had in tainting the integrity of democratic institutions. But the institution of the longer established corporate press continues, by telling people what they think, to be the forerunner in how those people react to what they are being told. Apparently.

The press is both instigator and lagging indicator. Instigator in that they can underwrite movements of people the way advertisers get them to go see a blockbuster movie yet to be a blockbuster. Lagging indicator in that they can concede certain truths they once failed by comparison to cover. If at all.

It’s true that people seem not to have given a shit about victims of war in Yemen and the role thereabouts of the previous presidential administration, but it’s substantially down to their not having been told they give a shit. This, due to a dearth of reporting on the subject and its discomfiting details. The cognitive dissonance of the liberal cannot be examined without looking squarely at the role the press plays in enabling their comfort in a chosen brand of politics.

It is hard to know how liberals would have reacted to a full-court press against their president and congresses’ duplicity on the subject of human rights and war refugees: That’s just never going to happen. Plenty of newspapers and networks can point out that they did in fact report on the massive expansion of executive war powers and war waging and the abdication of authority of the Congress over the last eight years. But the paltry mentions they gave it overall serve to indicate that it was not massive in the least, rather just the way things are being done nowadays. Normalization, if you get my drift.

That said, liberals are not brain-dead. They can figure out these contradictions for themselves. As far as I can tell from the way it has been reported, as well as occasional, actual conversations with real life liberals, they tacitly supported the groundwork laid that has led us to the president we have today, the very foundation upon which he has taken his position. I encourage their resistance; I don’t expect it to extend to resistance to their co-liberal representatives, whose resistance is even more convenient than their own, and corrupted by additional interests to boot.

Put another way: I have seen no evidence that anyone cared about war refugees until they were pressed to care.

The Door

Turns out he was playing eleven dimensional chess all along… against his most ardent fans’ stated interests, many of whom remain blissfully unaware, incapable of recognizing or fully acknowledging it, or just don’t care. Of the latter, why should they care now?Well… it comes down to what really matters above all else, today of all days instructive, which is appearances. They’ll swoon at the suave centurion but demur when it comes to the signs & symbols that suit the sociopathic job description.

Now the worm has turned. Suddenly the normalization of the long normal is not allowed because of a distinction: a dearth of decorum has poked its hideous head through their sheen of civility. This grants a license to mind certain details of doom.

Doom not because of the longstanding maintenance of nuclear warheads readied mano a mano from all ends of the Earth, but because somebody’s like, “Why can’t we use them?” Even our tacit acceptance of the survival of these most deadly devices threaten the world only in theory. Certainly, we would never use them again.

Doom not because we insist on dedicating the future of the public’s health to personal wealth accumulators, but because our outgoing executive’s signature piece of work is facing dismantling. Were they tired of hearing this legacy, more an act than affordable or care, was taken from the opposition party’s original, they unfolded in their adoring ruminations a more apt mnemonic that, if you were to fill in the gap in their narrative would be akin to claiming that the Rama did for health care what Dubya could not for Social Security. No, not that he funnelled funds from public hospitals into the private sector, but that he simply succeeded where his predecessor had failed. The enemy of the good was trumped by the fact that he was a winner.

If that was not enough to silence critics, printiN’t’fYT media had an econ hero spinning figures from facts hardly in evidence. Anything else was just anecdotal, man. Though they wouldn’t hesitate to cite stories that backed their imagination. The bottom line has been — as a former Chief of Staff might shout upon marching into the restroom at Cook County Hospital and one-two punching a public school teacher in each of his kidneys: “We’re winners, you fucking retard!”

That is the craw-sticking corn in the turd that’s been obliviously shovelled in alternating eight-year terms. Today’s enshrining, into which pantheon hasn’t even made it out of its 40s, is a nagging indication that you can lose even if you agree to surrender up front for the sake of the appearance of winning.

Appearances do matter. They mattered when, if nothing else, African-American children could at least look to an Oval Office with the mask of a face resembling their own. If nothing else, the twenty-first century could make up for the uncomfortable fact that I don’t actually hang out with my many black friends with a makeover of likes & ‘bros!’ at my growing black friend count. Thanks Obama’s Facebook page.

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Of Fables’ Foibles

The great utility of The Boy Who Cried Wolf is as gatekeeper serving at the pleasure of wolves. Think: Just in case it’s real this time, let’s not make that mistake.

Those who grieve the departure of their president would appear to be more credulous than ever of the intelligence organ that served at his pleasure. This daddy agency is a master at creating common enemies to justify harvesting public levies for black budgeting said foes’ destruction. The list of enemies is, apparently inversely, as long as it is instructive.

Not just the post-ally Soviet menace that got it rolling, but everybody who might’ve aligned with communism ideologically, from democratically elected leaders abroad to singers, screenwriters, and civil rights leaders at home — overthrown, trailed, ousted, and assassinated. Subsequent enemies consistently follow the path from the enemy of my enemy to public enemy number one, of which Islamic terrorism is the most obvious example.

Now Russia is the enemy of the enemy of the enemy, which seems like something the US would like to see go down in Syria. Euro allies are playing along, largely by default, with tanks having rolled through the streets of Brandenburg and Poland on their way to the Russian border.

As far as the lack of meaningful distinctions go, it’s not new that liberals have considered Republicans an adversary and vice-versa. So viewed from a distance it is not surprising that they’d go all-in on the CIA’s version of Putin’s hold on Trump. But their seeming willingness to go along with even a version of events that would have their nation’s enemy — formerly described as the evil empire, a depiction mocked as primitive & bellicose — in the heart of Washington D.C. is, uh… interesting. Let’s not pretend we don’t know what happens when the CIA has an enemy in the White House.

This link, my reminder that prescience is deceiving:

Flashback Freitag: In Augur al Don

 

Whatsoever you do: Manning Morality

If there is to be validity to the idea of righteousness, then open the doors and set them free!

—me, this morning

I know of no code of conduct or rule of engagement that should overshadow the gift of conscience, that which informs the only reliable usage of the word integrity: personal integrity. Other applications are valid — as in when connoting the soundness of physical processes, but no other covenants with morality. Neither the Ten Commandments nor the Book of the Law, nor the US Constitution and certainly not its Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Indeed, as the UCMJ eventually reveals, these rules have to do with the integrity of a mission however vaguely defined at any given time and under any given commander in spite of subliminal service to the vaguest notions of honoring the higher moral purposes of God, country, and family. With that in mind, on the other hand, those who maintain that rules are rules or that “you knew the job when you signed up for it” don’t deign to pay to anything other than what they’d like to believe is manning up.

__

It matters to me zilch that the person with the legal name of Bradley Manning enlisted in the Army for the ostensible purpose of taking advantage of certain benefits bestowed upon its enlistees. For that reason, I don’t need to consider potential mitigating factors in that decision, such as family pressure or the possible need for educational assistance. On the contrary, I can be as judgmental of that enlistee as I remain of myself for having done the same twenty-two years earlier, under the auspices of Commander in Chief Ronald Wilson Reagan, no less.

The deciding moment for me is when Private Manning saw murder for what it was and revealed it to the world. Fuck the chain of command. Fuck the safety of spies and diplomats in service to them. We all deserve to have any and all human activity carried out in our name brought into the harshest light of day, always and forever.

Again, I don’t need to consider the mitigating factor that Private Manning’s leak caused no one’s death, for if it had, the UCMJ lawyers would have presented evidence of it. Fuck Judith Miller anyway, who actually “tweeted, “How many people died because of manning’ leak?”  By my count, it’d be a million to zero, Miller over Manning. Though in fairness the former figure is an estimate.

So now the outgoing US President has used the power already accorded to him by one of his country’s double-dealing documents to commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning. For anyone reading these words who anticipates my not giving him props for doing so, I will not disappoint: It’s what he should have done. That it would appear to abide in moral conscience is a paltry concession.

Consider the twice daily reliable printN’tofYT media corps, who called the commutation “a remarkable final step for a president whose administration carried out an unprecedented criminal crackdown on leaks of government secrets.”

They also noted what his critics have harped upon regarding his treatment of whistle blowers, which is that his administration has prosecuted “more than were charged under all previous presidencies combined.” In qualifying the method of tabulation, they cite nine or ten prosecutions. This too is a kind estimation of his government’s actions when “depending on how they are counted” takes under advisement the effect the prosecutions of “the most transparent presidency ever” had on its subject-objects.

Consider that his administration expanded American military activity such that, had it not already been the default policy of every presidency prior to his (thereby the default consciousness of the “American people”) one might have thought it worthwhile to spread a petition through social media to curtail his authority over the nation’s nuclear war-faring capacity.

As cagey militant chutzpah and kill-counts would have it, he measures up well with Theodore Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Ronald Reagan. As powers extended to the executive handed over to his successor go, just like his predecessor, who in this regard he had in no equivocating terms promised to break with, he is nevertheless unprecedented.

I admit that I did not expect this. Despite the reported short-listing of Manning for clemency, I imagined that the effect the leaks had had on his administration’s renegotiation of the status of forces agreement in Iraq — which, contrary to what his presidential legacy’d have you believe, had been working to end the deadline for US troop presence there and extend military activity indefinitely — would mean that Manning’d remain under wraps.

Who knows, maybe instead of enabling this example of what happens when you cross military planning procedures, the President, realizing that but for Manning, he wouldn’t get credit for “ending the war in Iraq”, decided to give some form of credit where it was due.

Unlike those liberals who would never hold his feet to the fire in spite of his ominous admonition that he’d be a duplicitous asshole otherwise, it is the least he could have done. That he’s proven better than his groupies who would’ve cheered just as heartily for him either way is simply a case for some twisted moral irony.

There will be plenty enough praise for President Bo Rama for this decision. And though I thank my indefinable integrity for having the capacity to hope for it, I choose to see this clemency as honoring a hero who placed herself at far greater risk than the president in stroking his pen. The one who made the real moral choice. I reserve the glory & honor for Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

Comments Off on Whatsoever you do: Manning Morality Posted in Presse/Politik

A.D.

a descendant, a darling, a dad, a dude

a decedent adrift a decade
a delivery, a derivation, a dawn
a date
always decimals above dozens
a don’t for a doesn’t
a don’t for a did

accepting dollars already donuts

a description as dwelt: he goes on and on although despite he always don’t

in the year of our deceased forerunner and fellow traveler
80